The Giant's Causeways
nytheatre.com review by Ivanna Cullinan
March 1, 2009
Set in a Belfast torn by sectarian violence, The Giant's Causeways is a fine production of a promising young writer's work. Nora Sun McLaughlin tells the story of a friendship destroyed by Catholic and Protestant aggression with energy, integrity, and a compelling humanity. Conall and Seamus are friends from boyhood, and the bonds of that friendship are severely tested by the rising violence in Belfast during the late 1960s. They begin as lads out on a lark that conveys the core of each one's character immediately. As events move faster than they can finish growing up, and bombs are thrown, family and friends die; both are forced to respond to their world in their own way.
This tightly written two-hander is clearly staged by Jill Harrison and acted with deep commitment by James Fauvell (who finds the humanity in what could be a thankless, slightly limited and cold part) and Thomas Hodgskin (whose engaging charm makes it all the harder to question his choices). The scenes and quotations are woven together with great specificity and skill, making what is overall a concise and effective piece. Although the physical transitions could be both simpler and a bit tighter, this group has the well-delivered talent to keep the audience engaged throughout and make me forgive the leprechaun. Yes, there is an unseen leprechaun in a significant early portion of the story and he contributes nothing at all to the overall piece. It is the one supernatural element in an otherwise straightforward narrative, but the production is interesting enough that it almost does not matter.
The Giant's Causeways is a production of great merit and well worth seeing.